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2013 March Madness Bubble Watch: Latest Odds on Fringe Teams for Week of Jan. 22

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 22, 2013

2013 March Madness Bubble Watch: Latest Odds on Fringe Teams for Week of Jan. 22

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    With conference play in full swing, it's only natural to begin looking forward towards March. 

    While several teams are beginning to establish themselves as clear-cut top seeds, the bubble continues to be a jumbled mess of mostly mediocrity. 

    Nevertheless, it's often those supposed mediocre teams that make the most noise during the Big Dance (I'm looking at you, 2011 VCU).

    In order to clear up the picture a little bit, let's take a look at each of the top seven conferences (according to ESPN) and where each team sits relative to the dreaded bubble. 

    We'll also take a gander at the rest of the mid-majors worth keeping an eye on should they fail to win their conference tourneys. 

    Note: All RPI numbers come from BBState.com. Numbers may vary slightly depending on where you look. 

Big Ten

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    Locks

    Indiana Hoosiers

    Michigan Wolverines

    Michigan State Spartans

    Minnesota Golden Gophers

    Ohio State Buckeyes

     

    Comfortable

    Wisconsin Badgers

    The Badgers vaulted to the top of the Big Ten last week with a gargantuan win over Indiana, but their second-best win (a home victory over Illinois) looks worse every week. Still, the Big Ten is loaded and Bo Ryan's squad will benefit. 

     

    Bubble

    Illinois Fighting Illini

    It was a dream preseason for the Illini, but they are suddenly 1-4 in the Big Ten (with a home loss to Northwestern) and after they play Nebraska, must take on Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota in a row. 

    Ruh-roh. 

     

    Iowa Hawkeyes

    Four of Iowa's five losses have come against teams with an RPI of 20 or better. They could use a signature win, but last weekend's victory over Wisconsin was certainly a start. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    Nebraska Cornhuskers

    Northwestern Wildcats

    Penn State Nittany Lions

    Purdue Boilermakers

Big East

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    Locks

    Cincinnati Bearcats

    Louisville Cardinals

    Syracuse Orange

     

    Comfortable

    Connecticut Huskies

    Just so you know where they stand. Unfortunately for Husky fans, UConn is ineligible for postseason play this year. 

     

    Marquette Golden Eagles

    Marquette's best win right now is a home victory against Connecticut, but the Golden Eagles' 4-1 record in a still-stacked Big East has them firmly entrenched in the Field of 68 right now. 

     

    Bubble

    Georgetown Hoyas

    A win over UCLA is looking better every day, but nothing else really jumps out at you. An RPI of 44 is pretty indicative of a fringe tourney team. 

     

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    It's not long ago that the Irish were looked at as a lock, but they've lost three of four (two at home) and are plummeting quickly. An early-February stretch against Syracuse and Louisville back-to-back will be crucial. 

     

    Pittsburgh Panthers

    The RPI isn't all that pretty (58), but they have a home win against Connecticut, a road win against Georgetown and zero losses outside the top 50. 

     

    Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    We'll put the Scarlet Knights on the very outside of the bubble. They have a solid RPI of 46, but their best win is at home against Pittsburgh (RPI: 58). 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    DePaul Blue Demons

    Providence Friars

    Saint John's Red Storm

    Seton Hall Pirates

    South Florida Bulls

    Vilanova Wildcats

Pac-12

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    Locks

    Arizona Wildcats

    Oregon Ducks

     

    Comfortable

    Colorado Buffaloes

    It's been a bad start for the Buffs in the Pac-12 (2-4), but they are better than that record indicates. An RPI of 24 and two top-50 wins out of conference have them safe for now. 

     

    UCLA Bruins

    The Bruins are only No. 42 in the RPI and have an ugly loss to No. 197 Cal Poly on the resume. It's still tough to imagine a team with UCLA's talent failing to make the Big Dance. 

     

    Bubble

    Arizona State Sun Devils

    Jahii Carson and company are up to No. 69 in the RPI, but they still have some work to do. After wins over Colorado and Arkansas, the resume is fairly empty. 

     

    Washington Huskies

    The Dawgs make it here after an ugly preseason because of a hot start in Pac-12 play, but any more losses like the home one to Utah, and it will be conference tournament championship or bust for Lorenzo Romar's boys. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    California Golden Bears

    Oregon State Beavers

    Stanford Cardinal

    USC Trojans

    Utah Utes

    Washington State Cougars

ACC

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    Locks

    Duke Blue Devils

    Miami Hurricanes

    NC State Wolfpack

     

    Comfortable

    North Carolina Tar Heels

    The Tar Heels have been one of the most disappointing teams this season, but they still have an RPI of 34 with four top-100 wins (including two on the road). Two bad losses against Texas and Virginia, of course, make things a little more uneasy for the Tar Heel faithful. 

     

    Bubble

    Maryland Terrapins

    The Terps don't have much of a resume besides a win over NC State, but they also don't have any bad losses. In a field of 68, that is sometimes enough to squeak in. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    Boston College Eagles

    Clemson Tigers

    Florida State Seminoles

    Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

    Virginia Cavaliers

    Virginia Tech Hokies

    Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Mountain West

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    Locks

    New Mexico Lobos

    San Diego State Aztecs

    UNLV Rebels

     

    Comfortable

    Colorado State Rams

    The Rams are extremely close to "lock" status. 

     

    Wyoming Cowboys

    For now, the Cowboys are safe. But they've lost two of their last four (including one against No. 166 Fresno State) and haven't looked quite the same without Luke Martinez. 

    Saturday's win against San Diego State, however, was crucial. 

     

    Bubble

    Boise State Broncos

    Apparently the Broncos aren't just a football school. They sport two top-50 wins, an RPI of 45 and if "close losses" were a thing, they would sport two of those against New Mexico and Michigan State.

    Moreover, the Broncos will have plenty more opportunities for signature wins in this incredibly tough conference. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    Air Force Falcons

    Nevada Wolf Pack

    Fresno State Bulldogs

Big 12

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    Locks

    Kansas Jayhawks

    Kansas State Wildcats

     

    Comfortable

    Oklahoma Sooners

    The Sooners have just one top-50 win (at home against Oklahoma State), but they have looked impressive so far in conference, have an RPI of 21 and boast zero bad losses.

     

    Baylor Bears

    Baylor is in a similar position. Its best win is against Oklahoma State, but it also has losses against Northwestern and Charleston. Thanks to four wins against opponents between No. 51 and 100, we'll call them safe for now, but they are barely above the bubble. 

     

    Bubble

    Iowa State Cyclones

    As is the case with the above two teams, the Cyclones don't have any signature wins, but have a good Big 12 record, a solid RPI (No. 38) and no bad losses. 

     

    Oklahoma State Cowboys

    The Cowboys have a fantastic win against NC State and, once again, no real bad losses (although Virginia Tech on the road is close) and a solid RPI. 

    The Big 12 has a lot of shuffling to do once everyone plays each other. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    West Virginia Mountaineers 

    Texas Longhorns

    TCU Horned Frogs

    Texas Tech Red Raiders


SEC

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    Locks

    Florida Gators

     

    Comfortable

    Missouri Tigers

    Oh, how they need Laurence Bowers back. 

     

    Ole Miss Rebels

    I'm not exactly sure how Ole Miss has flown under the radar, but the Rebels have a 15-2 record (4-0 in the SEC), two top-50 wins, zero bad losses, an RPI of 32 and a potential instant March hero in Marshall Henderson.

     

    Bubble

    Kentucky Wildcats

    Sorry, Kentucky fans. The Wildcats certainly have the talent to beat anyone in the country, but they are still far from putting it all together. As a result, the young 'Cats' resume is incredibly weak. Their best win is a narrow victory against No. 71 Maryland.

    Still, an RPI of 53 and a good start in the conference have them on the bubble. 

     

    Alabama Crimson Tide

    The Tide have an RPI of 56 but need a signature win. A victory over Kentucky on Tuesday would be a good start. 

     

    Texas A&M Aggies

    Same goes for the Aggies. They are No. 57 in the RPI, but their best wins are outside the top 50. 

     

    The Rest (alphabetical order)

    Arkansas Razorbacks

    Auburn Tigers

    Georgia Bulldogs

    LSU Tigers

    Mississippi State Bulldogs

    South Carolina Gamecocks

    Tennessee Volunteers

    Vanderbilt Commodores

The Rest

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    Locks

    Gonzaga Bulldogs

    Butler Bulldogs

    Wichita State Shockers

    Creighton Bluejays

    VCU Rams

     

    Comfortable

    Belmont Bruins

    If they don't win the Ohio Valley conference tourney, the Bruins should still be fine with a top-50 win, six top-100 wins and an RPI of 23. They can't afford many OVC losses, though. 

     

    Bubble (In order of RPI)

    Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

    Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

    Bucknell Bison

    Indiana State Sycamores

    La Salle Explorers

    Memphis Tigers

    Temple Owls

    BYU Cougars

    Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

    North Dakota State Bison

    Charlotte 49ers

    Massachusetts Minutemen

    Akron Zips

    Saint Mary's Gaels

    Xavier Musketeers

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